I found the movie, The Founder, an interesting study in personalities. If you have not taken the time to watch it, the movie is the story of Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers, Mac and Dick. The movie shows first the positives and then the negatives of three of the four DISC type personalities. Those personality types were D – dominant, S – steady, and C – conscientious.
To aid in memory of the major characteristics of the personality types, I use the natural resources and color: D, burns like a Red fire, lighting the way so others may follow. S, is as steady as the Green oak tree and often mediates and supports. C, is as the Blue water, always flowing and busy filling in details just as water fills in all the crevices and crannies of a stream.
Each personality has positive traits as well as blind spots or negatives. Michael Keaton who plays Ray Kroc, did a masterful job of morphing from the positives of a Red D to the negatives of the Red D. In the beginning of the movie the positive Red D traits he exhibited were vision, passion, determination, and high energy. He did what it took to sell milkshake mixers then laid his future on the line as he signed a contract with the McDonald brothers to set up franchises.
As an observation of real life relationships generally proves, the McDonald brothers were opposite personalities. At their burger stand in San Bernardino, California, they had originated and perfected the process of delivering a hamburger, fries and a drink in 30 seconds.
Dick showed Blue traits: He took care of the details and perfected the process showing detail orientation and perfectionism. I loved the scene when with his stop watch in hand, he claims that the fries are not right and insists that the time be lowered to 2 minutes and 50 seconds and the heat be set to 400 degrees, not 357. He wanted them cooked faster in less time.
His brother, Mac, displayed Green S traits. He was warm and friendly and supportive of Dick’s dreams. As the story progressed, Green traits came out as he tried to mediate between Ray and Dick. In the end he shut down and said nothing to the take-over Ray Kroc initiated.
What were their blind spots? Together, the brothers presented a block of resistance to new ideas and to change. They wanted to pass all of Ray Kroc’s ideas through a bureaucratic process for approval instead of jumping on improvements. They saw Kroc’s ideas as shooting from the hip with no trials to prove it would work. Ray was destroying their paradigms of what was “right” and being D dominant, Ray knew how to push forward, make adjustments, flex and change until it worked.
Green S individuals and Blue C individuals hate change for two reasons. First, they just perfected it and they don’t want to start perfecting another process without good cause. Second, they fear failure and risk taking. Change is a risk and failure is always a possibility.
Eventually Ray found ways around Mac and Dick’s resistance, and ultimately turned to the blind spots of the fiery Red D personality – domineering and ruthless in the quest to achieve goals.
What do we learn? I personally learned to be more cognizant of my own blind spots. Understanding your blind spots helps you evaluate how to learn from others and use their ideas to improve your own and move forward.
Are you open to new ideas from others, even perhaps those you often disagree with? In this day of rapid technological advancement, one person can’t know it all. There must be collaboration of smart individuals to maintain market share and keep innovating.
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Karla Brandau is the CEO of Workplace Power Institute and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA), and a Certified Professional Motivators Analyst (CPMA). Through Workplace Power Institute, a variety of purposeful assessments can be evaluated and after a discussion with Karla, you can choose the most appropriate assessments for your company.
She is available for keynotes and workshops on improving leadership and communication processes by focusing on the development of personality. She is the coauthor with Douglas Ross of the new book, “The Leadership of One,” a complementary program to How to Earn the Gift of Discretionary Effort.